Short SeaKayaking Stories
SUSPICION OF MURDER
One evening Scott George and I
paddled out to Red Rock and got back to Point Molate
County Park a few minutes before it closed. We loaded our
boats quickly, then headed off to the taqueria for
We got home and were just sitting down to eat when there
was a knock on the door; two uniformed sheriffs deputies
stood there with hands on guns. Two men had been observed
carrying a body between a truck and the bay; the truck
license had been traced to me. We would probably have to
go downtown for questioning, but we could eat our dinner
while they waited for a call from the Richmond police,
who were checking out the scene of the "crime".
We explained we had just been sea-kayaking and they could
see our kayaks and gear strewn around the driveway and
entry--the mess didnt seem to reassure them. After
twenty tense minutes, the Richmond police finally called;
no bodies had been found. We were in the clear--but
somewhere in the Richmond police department, theres
probably a sea kayaker file...
RESCUE OFF CATALINA
Fellow BASKer Doug Wilkins and
I left from our sailboat at Two Harbors about noon to
paddle around the northern end of Catalina Island. As we
rounded a point on the NE side, I noticed a shiny black
mass bobbing in the water. Paddling over to investigate,
I quickly grabbed it and pulled up; it was a scuba diver
gasping for air.
Barely conscious, he was unable to even hold onto my
kayak. I struggled to hang on to him; it would have been
easier if he werent still wearing a weight belt.
Fortunately, another diver swam up, and she held the
diver on my sit on top. Amazingly, we didnt flip
right over despite the massive list.
The dive boat was only a quarter mile away, but dragging
the two divers along made it the hardest paddle of my
life. On board the dive boat, rescue workers were
performing CPR on a woman diver. We barely managed to get
"my" diver on board--still wearing his dive
A coast guard call came crackling over the radio:
"Tell the kayaker to keep the other divers away from
the boat." Easier said than done; one diver angrily
rebuked me: "Hey! No kayaking around here--this is a
Like a scene out of babewatch, an L A county lifeguard
boat sped up doing 25-30 knots to remove the ailing man;
a Coast Guard helicopter swooped down to carry off the
I went to a nearby beach and let my adrenaline calm down,
then it was a long paddle back around to Two Harbors.
Later in the Two Harbors bar, the sheriff told me the
woman had died but her partner--the man Id pulled
out of the water--survived.
|GREAT WHITE ENCOUNTER
BASKers Tim Green and Kipp Frye
and I were paddling a 4-day, 3-night kayak-camping
expedition from the Navarro River to Pt. Arena Cove.
While eating a sunset dinner at our campsite in Cuffey
Cove, a six-foot great white shark was suddenly flung up
high and dry onto the beach by an outsider. We watched in
amazement as this big fish thrashed in its death throes.
Fish and chips came to mind, but we still had to paddle
around Pt. Arena... We agreed that for good trip karma,
we would try to return the shark to the sea.
Tim chose to direct the operation from atop a 10-foot
rock, windmilling his arms to show us what needed to be
done. I used my paddle (the longest pole I could find) to
try to nudge the 100-lb fish seaward--try it sometime.
Kipp strode right up, seized the shark by the tail and
dragged him 30 feet into the water.
Moments later, he washed right back onto the beach. We
resumed our positions and repeated the process; but this
time we told him we were saving his life and he is not to
eat sea-kayakers when he grows up.
Success--he didnt wash back in this time. Next
morning, we checked neighboring beaches and found no
trace of him. Theres at least ONE great white shark
out there that appreciates kayakers as more than just a
copyright Storm Steiger 1998